There come times when what asks to be done is for there to be silence.
This can seem harder to accept than many other demands the moment makes on us. We have momentum. We consider our habits valuable. We expect and we expect others do too. Expect a certain “output.”
This gets tricky when the purpose one pursues is to figure things out. Find a way to proceed. A lot of this work requires making an effort to reach the next step. Even when the way to make the next step is obscured by habits and expectations…. When making an effort is a sign that we are remaining within the bounds of a conditioned state.
What is the proper response to this moment?
What has become clear is that any answer to this question that attempts to explain and convince our way to a better place is at least a distraction if not an outright evasion. What’s come clear is how our dramas of cause and effect, of following causes and seeking effects, are yet another distraction. A delaying tactic.
Some times the only way to keep from feeding the broken ways is to stop. When the broken ways clutter and confound our communication the only viable response is silence.
Talking about stuff has its place. But, in the long run we are stuck if we continue talking about stuff and not immersing ourselves in living. Living includes doing stuff. It includes talking too; but a certain kind of self-reflection is ultimately self-limiting.
When we take on a role, any role, say writer, say reader; we open our selves to legions of habits and expectations. Most of these are toxic. Tied to the dead-end, death-dealing habits of mind and action that have brought us to this place.
How do we keep from being complicit?
Part of a response is an awareness of our complicity. We are surrounded by those unwilling to accept any fault. They have become monsters. The enormities they contemplate will compound the enormity in which we are already caught.
Awareness of complicity, accepting that we are broken, possibly irredeemably so, is not just a step on the way to some better place. As with any viable movement, it is in itself a necessity. Something we can not live without. Without it there is only more death-dealing.
We are complicit in so many ways. For the moment, in relation to this topic, let’s focus on how our expectations and habits of mind keep us within traps when we find our selves consuming a virtual community. Consuming our selves.
I have my “fixes.” Blogs I’m used to reading, say. When they miss or when they fall-short of expectations it is easy to feel cheated somehow.
How else am I to be informed?
Here is the greatest heuristic that’s come my way:
Any thing worth knowing we already know. The trouble does not come from ignorance, but blindness. A habituation to falseness. We live immured in a tissue of lies. Liars win. Bucking the trend hurts. Brings failure. Blocks us from getting ahead.
So, how does yet another explanation or cajoling after agreement help any of this?
The hardest part of any dialogue is reading the silence. To begin, unaccustomed to anything other than a push to gain: allies, converts, customers; we mistrust even the shortest silence. Even as we are accustomed to providing a space for that which has not already presented itself – that which is most likely already predigested and no longer vital – we continue to worry over what that empty-space and time might mean.
When silence comes let us trust it. It is a gift. It’s only when we change our attitude towards it that it can help us. And then, it can give us everything that all the noise only distracts us from and keeps us from ever reaching.
The cycle of the year is poised now. The descent – forgive my northern hemispherical parochialism here, but we are woven into our place! – into darkness has stopped. The growing days are ahead.
If we can accept it, silence is a natural gift at this season.
2 thoughts on “Consuming Community, Consuming Our Selves…”
This is extremely clear. I think there’s a difference between “focusing” on the awareness of complicity (which is usually intentional and therefore casting a divisive shadow (a subtle sense of separation, not immersion), and being open to “what we already know.” Which is that we HAVE this shadow, that it persists, that certain deeper assumptions of separation are being ignored. That shadow is being ignored still. And this is exciting to me. Because it shows where to look. Looking deeper, to me, is the next step. Not the only possible next step, but from one angle, our shadow is a much richer vein than we’ve yet tapped.
Very good clarification. Exactly. This is the kind of difference that’s so hard to get across.
Yes, our shadow is the place to look. Doing it this way gets past the futility of disagreement and getting into a war of hatreds with those who are so frightening. In this way we attend to what we can grapple with.